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Police to Focus on Bike and Pedestrian Safety This Week

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By Lookout Staff

January 23, 2023 -- Santa Monica police will hold the year's second Bike and Pedestrian Safety Enforcement Operations this week as fatalities among those walking and bicycling rose nationwide last year.

The operations -- which focus on locations where bike and pedestrian violations are prevalent, leading to collisions -- will take place Tuesday and Thursday from 6 a.m. to 8 p.m.

The officers will be looking "for violations made by bicyclists, drivers and pedestrians that make roads unsafe," Captain Saul Rodriguez said.

These violations include drivers speeding, making illegal turns, failing to yield to pedestrians in crosswalks and failing to stop for signs and signals.

"Drivers, slow down and allow bicyclists and pedestrians the same access to roads," Rodriguez said. "To protect you and your family, we want to make sure everyone is following rules that keep them safe."

The operations come as national transportation data show that fatal traffic accidents involving bicyclists and pedestrians increased during the first nine months of last year.

While the fatality rate for people dying in cars was down, deaths rose 2 percent for pedestrians, 5 percent for motorcyclists and 8 percent for cyclists, the data show.

In Santa Monica, the latest fatality involving a cyclist took place shortly after 3 a.m. Thanksgiving morning when a motorist struck a bicyclist on the 500 block of PCH ("Car Goes Over Bluffs, Another Fatally Strikes Pedestrian," November 28, 2022).

The bicyclist -- who suffered severe injuries -- was pronounced dead on the scene, police said.

Bicyclists -- who must follow similar traffic laws as motorists -- are encouraged to always wear a helmet. Those under 18 years of age must wear helmets by law.

They must travel in the same direction of traffic as motorists and have the same requirements as any slow moving vehicle, police said.

Pedestrians should cross the street only in marked crosswalks or at corners, look for cars backing up and avoid walking between parked cars, police said.

They also should make eye contact with drivers and never assume a driver sees them. Pedestrians also should wear bright clothing during the day and use a flashlight when walking at night.

Meanwhile, drivers must wait for pedestrians to cross the street, be courteous and patient and stay off the phone.

They also should look for pedestrians when backing up, turning at intersections or entering or exiting shopping centers.

Funding for the Bike and Pedestrian Safety Enforcement Operations is provided by a grant from the California Office of Traffic Safety through the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

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